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Fall Out Boy - Save Rock and Roll (Cover Artwork)

Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy: Save Rock and RollSave Rock and Roll (2013)
Island Records

Reviewer Rating: 1.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

At this point, there is little to no difference between Fall Out Boy and any other mainstream radio schlock. Patrick Stump's vocals have become so good that he now shares a vocal style similar to Maroon 5's Adam Levine on certain songs, and the music is overproduced with such a coating of smooth syn.
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At this point, there is little to no difference between Fall Out Boy and any other mainstream radio schlock. Patrick Stump's vocals have become so good that he now shares a vocal style similar to Maroon 5's Adam Levine on certain songs, and the music is overproduced with such a coating of smooth synths, strings and drum machine/over-compressed drums that it might as well be Katy Perry (just check out "Where Did the Party Go?" and imagine her voice in it) or, I dunno, Imagine Dragons? I can't even name a high-level rock band anymore other than the Foo Fighters, but they still have integrity unlike these acts. Anyway, gone from Fall Out Boy's sound are the metalcore breakdowns, gone are the Saves The Day-inspired pop-punk chord progressions, gone are the overtly-emo Get Up Kids-inspired lyrics. They must be together as a money-making entity at this point. I don't see how these guys could have progressed from something in the punk realm (Hell, they have hardcore roots) to whatever this is without compromising their tastes at some point along the way. I could be wrong.

It was a gradual change at first. With 2007's Infinity On High the band started adding in bizarre "non-punx" elements to their sound, like rapper cameos and dancey elements heard in the hit "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race." But they still had some breakdowns and the guitars were high in the mix. 2008's Folie í Deux found the band doing about the same thing. But the five years since that album (and some failed solo/side projects) was apparently enough time for songwriters Stump and bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz to completely abandon the genre that brought them fame in the first place.

The first track of Save Rock and Roll, "Phoenix," comes sweeping in with action-movie-soundtrack strings and kick drum thuds as Stump sings angrily about something. Guitars buried underneath chug the song to the chorus, with a catchy-enough melody featuring his strong falsetto on the title lyric. "Miss Missing You" sounds like the Killers. No, scratch that: the Killers Lite. So many synths, so little rock. "The Mighty Fall" has a rap interlude featuring the Kanye-approved Big Sean, who spits such gems as "Sometimes I swear I need a day / Just for me to lay / With some T and A." Would such awfulness ever fit into Take This To Your Grave? Or Under the Cork Tree? Not a chance. Not saying a band can't grow over ten years, but Jesus Christ.

Then Courtney Love makes her appearance known immediately at the start of "Rat A Tat" with "It's Courtney, bitch" as the the gang vocals kick in. She talks/raps more than sings, which is disappointing. Could have been a cool cameo. She sounds like Hell, as is to be expected, but the band don't utilize her gritty vocal chords well at all. The closing title track features cheesy guest vocals by Sir Elton John. Yes, you read right. And what a bad idea it was for him to appear here, because again, they use the cameo atrociously. He's barely recognizable; the man who wrote "Rocket Man" for fucks' sake. The song comes complete with cheesy clich├ęs like "You are what you love, not who loves you" and "No, no, we won't go!" over the breakdown.

Now I'm not saying there aren't great pop songs here, so if you forget FOB's first records and judge this compared to what's on the radio, it's not as horrible. Previously mentioned "Miss Missing You" has a solid sky-high chorus hook and undeniable dance beat. "Death Valley" actually sounds a little punk with its on-the-beat double time percussion and distorted vocals in its opening minute. But then it gets sparkling-clean. "Alone Together" sounds like classic FOB songwriting, but the overly-thick production nearly does it in. It might be the best track on here, and the gang vocals off in the distance are a nice touch.

This was an odd review for me to write. These guys came from the same area in Chicago I grew up in, at the same time. While my old, old band never played with them when they were starting out (though we did play with the Plain White T's a couple times... haha) they filmed their first real music video ("Dead On Arrival") at the venue I used to play and throw shows at on a regular basis, a Knights of Columbus hall in Arlington Heights, IL. I've come full-circle: Take This To Your Grave was one of my earlier reviews as a Punknews staffer. I correctly hypothesized they'd blow up ("Fall Out Boy may be making it big soon"), but I could never have predicted the atrocities they'd commit in the name of "punk." I can only assume the title Save Rock and Roll is intentionally ironic on their part because even they should know it's quite a stretch to call this rock and roll.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
daviedos9966 (July 6, 2013)

Why the fuck is this even on Punknews?

insinceredave (June 6, 2013)

"Fall Out Boy fans:
- fat grade school girls
- nerdy grade school boys that have crushes on fat grade school girls
- pedophiles
- attorneys

Make sense, incomplicit."

Brilliant

telegraphrocks (June 5, 2013)

Fall Out Boy fans:
- fat grade school girls
- nerdy grade school boys that have crushes on fat grade school girls
- pedophiles
- attorneys

Make sense, incomplicit.

incomplicit (June 5, 2013)

I like this album. People like me exist, I promise. Just because it's synth-pop doesn't mean Fall Out Boy forgot how to write hooks, which is what made them great.

I am a 29-year-old attorney who for his first show saw anti-flag and dropkick murphies in 1999 (don't care for either band now) and last weekend saw the Stooges, the Bronx, and Social Distortion. If I wasn't in Milwaukee for work I would be seeing Make Do and Mend tonight. I am seeing Fall Out Boy this Friday.

MN_DrNick (June 4, 2013)

If only an album could get 0/5 stars.

MN_DrNick (June 4, 2013)

What a pile of garbage.

telegraphrocks (June 4, 2013)

The album's title couldn't be more accurate.
Thank GOD these guys returned.
Album of the decade.

anytime (June 4, 2013)

I totaly agree, why not review the mudhoney album or meat puppets. I'd write it but I guess MY REVIEWING SKILLS AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH.

killtaker (June 4, 2013)

@GuiltyofBeingMike: I live in Pittsburgh and I think last year's song was a Rise Against song which was way better than Fall Out Boy.

nedsammy (June 4, 2013)

Seldom do I lament the lack of metalcore breakdowns. Plus, this review came across as a bit "y u no emo anymoar" in places. However, I'm more or less onside with greg0rb once again, based on what I subjected myself to from this record.

GuiltyofBeingMike (June 4, 2013)

@killtaker
I live near Wilkes-Barre, & the first time I heard the song was in a promo package that was played before WBS Pens late season and playoff games.
On a related note, the NHL has had some pretty shitacular music in their promos for the past few years.

thenewpope (June 4, 2013)

Why not review Imagine Dragons, Nickleback, or Maroon 5 albums? If were just gonna rip on easy targets, might as well start at the top right?

thenewpope (June 4, 2013)

If even one person clicks on a review of a band they've never heard of and checks them out afterwards then this site has served a positive purpose.

robalobadob (June 4, 2013)

@thenewpope: How many people actually click on the reviews of bands they've never heard before though? I will occasionally skim through them and find some new cool band, but rarely. Some big name flame bait like this though? People are going to read this to see it get torn apart like a christian in a lion pit.

killtaker (June 4, 2013)

@GuiltyofBeingMike: Root Sports played the shit out of that terrible song during the Pens games this year.

killtaker (June 4, 2013)

@ thenewpope: There are all kinds of records reviewed on this site. Fall Out Boy has never been to my liking but I'm sure there are posters on Punknews who were into Fall Out Boy at some point and might be curious about this record. Again, I'm not one of them but it is possible.

GuiltyofBeingMike (June 4, 2013)

I think it's incredibly fitting that this was compared to Imagine Dragons, as it seems that I can't turn on the television without hearing an ID song...worse, I can't turn on an NHL broadcast without FoB's "My Song's Know..."
Seriously, they must have that damn song on about 50 different advertising packages.

thenewpope (June 4, 2013)

Because there are hundreds of bands with new records throughout the world more deserving of acknowledgment. Everyone, especially the people who visit this site, know this stuff is complete terrible bullshit. Why even review it? Give the spot to an unknown band who is working hard, making music with integrity and balls,and trying to sell a couple records. Does a bad review of a FOB album even matter?

killtaker (June 4, 2013)

@ thenewpope: why is that?

thenewpope (June 4, 2013)

the fact that this is even reviewed on this site is a joke

aplomb (June 4, 2013)

Iconic

ivano (June 4, 2013)

Cool review

anytime (June 4, 2013)

R.I.P ROCK N ROLL. lol!!!!

Dante3000 (June 4, 2013)

I miss when this dude was fat and in an emo band.

brittisrad (June 4, 2013)

"as Stump sings angrily about something." Dead. Can't even. Too good.

eatbicycles (June 4, 2013)

Elton John arranged Rocket Man, Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics. They are both awesome.

conebone69 (June 4, 2013)

If this review had been posted on Absolutepunk, you would have dragged out into the street and shot.

How that website loves shit like this yet mocks Ronnie Radke, I'll never know.

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